Oophorectomy is the surgical removal of the ovaries of a female animal. In the case of non-human animals, this is also called spaying. It is a form of sterilization.

The removal of the ovaries together with the Fallopian tubes is called salpingo-oophorectomy. Oophorectomy and salpingo-oophorectomy are not common forms of birth control in humans; more usual is tubal ligation, in which the Fallopian tubes are blocked but the ovaries remain intact.

In humans, oophorectomy is most usually performed together with a hysterectomy - the removal of the uterus. Its use in a hysterectomy when there are no other health problems is somewhat controversial.

In animals, spaying involves an invasive removal of the ovaries, but rarely has major complications; the superstition that it causes weight gain is not based on fact. Spaying is especially important for certain animals that require the ovum to be released at a certain interval (called estrus or "heat"), such as cats and dogs. If the cell is not released during these animal's heat, it can cause severe medical problems that can be averted by spaying or partnering the animal with a male.

Oophorectomy is sometimes referred to as castration, but that term is most often used to mean the removal of a male animal's testicles.

See also

Artificial insemination

Artificial insemination (AI) is when sperm is placed into a female's Censored page, uterus or fallopian tubes using artificial means rather than by sexual intercourse. In humans artificial insemination is usually part of an infertility treatment; either the woman's partner's sperm (artificial insemination by husband, AIH) or donor sperm (artificial insemination by donor, AID) can be used.

Artificial insemination requires the close monitoring of the ovulation cycle. In artificial insemination, the child is carried to term in the uterus of the biological mother. Censored page from the father is injected directly into her uterus to improve the chance of conception in a process called intrauterine insemination.

Artificial insemination has become a significant issue in recent years, particularly in debates revolving around surrogate parenting. Legal issues have arisen in cases where the surrogate mother decides to keep the child. Likewise, there have been debates over the rights of sperm donors. There have also been debates as to whether conceiving a baby without sexual intercourse is ethical.

Artificial insemination is used in animals to propagate desirable characteristics of one male to many females or overcome breeding problems, particularly in the cases of horses, cattle, pedigreed dogs, and honeybees. Semen is collected, frozen, and shipped to the female's location.

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Last updated: 02-07-2005 21:12:32